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Transfer from Primary to Secondary

Hello all,

I am a first time brewer and am trying my hand at cider. My primary fermentation appears to be nearing completion, but I have a question about moving on to secondary fermentation. I am using two half-gallon growlers (as this is my first time I didn’t buy all the best equipment although I probably will in the future if this turns out decent) so I don’t have a standard carboy. How should I transfer the cider from first to secondary without remixing all the sediment at the bottom? Do I just pour it off very slowly? Also, will this encounter with oxygen damage the process? If so how should I transfer it without subjecting it to oxygen?

Thank you very much!

I wouldn’t pour it - Do you have any tubing that you can use for a siphon? You can make it work well enough with about 3-4 feet of sanitized tubing, but you may want to practice first as it’s easy to make a mess and lose a lot of cider in the process. Tip your growler slightly and keep the tube a little bit above the lees so you don’t transfer it, and be prepared to leave a little bit in the container.

Try to minimize your headspace in your secondary vessel, so you might need to top up one container with cider from the second growler, and find a smaller bottle or jug to hold the rest of the second growler.

I have been brewing beer since 1990 and just bottled my very first cider on Sunday. I chose not to secondary because it was remarkably clear after 4 weeks, tasted great, and was fermented out. As with my transfers of beer into secondary or my kegs, I always use my auto-siphon and did so to move this cider to a bottling bucket. Its worth the investment. The plastic ones are like 15 buck at NB. Getting a siphon going with tubing alone can be done but it is so much more awkward and unpredictable.

I will definitely be making more cider in the future.

Thanks for the information. I may leave this batch in its original containers then if luck has been had with that, just to keep it simple for a first-timer but I’ll be ordering one of those auto-siphons soon and try that next time!

Well you are going to have to transfer it eventually. If you drink them from the primary growlers you are going to have sediment settled at the bottom unless, of course, you simply stick a straw in and sip whenever you feel like a drink of cider!

The auto-siphon is seriously the best piece of brewing gear ever invented… hands down. Like wildwood said, you’ll need to rack it when you bottle anyways. You won’t regret getting one.

Ok I see, I’m sorry I must have been confused. I’ll get that siphon ordered then!

I hate to keep bugging you guys about this question… Ok so my primary is complete. I tasted out of one of the growlers and was quite impressed. Very dry, nice color, albeit somewhat cloudy. I may just finish off the one straight out of the primary vessel. The other, however, I do want to move to secondary to see if it clears a little and if some of the bready/doughy smell dissipates. I looked at the auto siphon, but I’m getting a kit from NB here relatively soon and of course as those come with the auto siphon and tubing I thought, what’s the use in buying another right now.

This being said, if I poured the cider into a secondary through a strainer to catch any particles, would the exposure to oxygen ruin the cider? Do I need to just stop fighting it and get tubing or something and take the $10 as a loss?

Sorry I’m being difficult here, just curious as to what I can do with what I have right now.

No problem on the questions… In my experience, that’s a sure-fire way to oxidize it. If you don’t have a good way to siphon it, you could try cold crashing it to settle as much as possible and either drink it that way or wait until you have an auto-siphon to transfer it to another container. It should drop sparkling clear at fridge temps for a couple of days.

In the fridge now! Thanks so much

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